Castellanos Eager to Start and Grow as a Pro

A year ago, the West Michigan Whitecaps were welcoming Jacob Turner, a hard throwing righty that instantly made a name for himself in the Midwest League before moving up to high-A Lakeland midway through the season. This season, the 'Caps are hoping to repeat this good fortune in the form of third baseman prospect Nick Castellanos.

Nick Castellanos, a nineteen year old from Miami, was the 44th pick in last year's Major League Baseball draft.

Originally a shortstop, Castellanos made the move to third immediately after signing where his skill-set and developing frame will likely be a better option long term.

After contract negotiations dragged on, many experts were speculating that Castellanos was considering a spot on the Miami Hurricanes roster, the school he had committed to prior to being drafted.

But, for Castellanos, the decision came down to getting his career underway as fast as possible.

"(The decision came down to) just wanting to get out and start my professional career," Castellanos said.

Although he got off to a bit of a slow start—a hitless opening day against Lansing in which he struck out once—Castellanos still looks like the highly-ranked prospect that so many think he is. However, Castellanos is noted for his clubhouse contribution, as well.

"I just try to keep the mood light," he said. "We need to remember that this is a game, so we can't take it too seriously. We need to joke around when we can, and be serious when we need to be."

That being said, Castellanos knows that there's a line drawn by new 'Caps manager Ernie Young that cannot be crossed.

"(Young) is a little more strict. He has his rules, and you don't want to break them," Castellanos said.

Although Castellanos didn't necessarily grow up around the Detroit Tigers organization, he is ecstatic to be a part of it.

"It just makes it that much greater to have that great history, and that great fan base (in Detroit)," he said. "Great facilities, great staff, great everything."

Castellanos isn't just excited about his potential future in the big leagues, though. He's just as motivated in his current role in Comstock Park.

"I was really excited (about being sent to West Michigan), because I know that the Whitecaps have a great fan base, and they have a great stadium. It's a tradition here," Castellanos said. "Most of all, I was excited about making a full season team."

Keeping everything that's great about the organization in mind, Castellanos is working to make sure that he can contribute as much as possible to the Detroit Tigers.

"I'm going to bring one-hundred percent effort everyday by doing whatever I can to win: whether it's stealing a base, getting a guy over, or laying down a bunt if I have to," Castellanos said. "Just whatever I can do to get a W on the board that day."

Castellanos said that his greatest area to improve during the season is to master his newly-acquired defensive position.

"I need to work on my positioning at third base—getting use to all the angles and stuff like that—because last year I was a shortstop," he said. "I think, with the more games that I play, the easier it will get for me. It's just a matter of time."

His goal for the end of the season, though, is a simple one.

"Just to be better than I was when I first walked through the door, wherever that takes me," he said.

Castellanos should get a great opportunity to do that in West Michigan. Scouts are already impressed with his mechanics, knowledge of the game and early hitting ability. Furthermore, West Michigan's new hitting coach, Ben Oglivie, should only help improve on Castellanos' already striking potential.

The questions that some scouts have about his defensive range, at least in Castellanos' mind, is just a product of the job.

"No one's going to be perfect. They're always going to have something bad to say about you," Castellanos said. "You just have to smile at it and get better. You can't knock yourself down because there's always going to be something."

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